Judy

I have lost another friend. Judy. Judy We’ve known each other my entire married life. She was fun, cute, full of energy, creative, and committed to Christ. She and Bob were married a couple years ahead of Jerry and me. Judy and I would both turn 80 in October of this year! Judy and Bob celebrated 60 years of marriage last summer, 2017.  Jerry and I will celebrate 60 years next year, 2019.

Judy’s oldest son, Dennis and my oldest daughter, Pam, were very good friends growing up and right up until Dennis died, as a young man. Judy’s next son, Chris, and my son, Ted, were best buddies when they were kids. Judy’s daughter, Margie, and my son, Tim, were very good friends clear up through high school. Our whole family has so many memories of Judy and her family.

We were pregnant at the same time with our second babies, Ted and Chris. Oh my,  was she sure she was going to have a baby? She didn’t look like it! I did! She was so slender and carried her babies inward! I was slender but I carried my babies outward! I wish I had pictures to show you! Judy’s Chris was born about three weeks before my Teddy!

Bob & Judy family  Archer family 4 kids        These family pictures are from our church directory, 1970! They are even in pretty good order! Chris and Ted on the left of both pictures and Dennis and Pam on the right in both pictures. They were very good friends.  Marjory and Tim both in the front row were very good friends! Marj beside Judy and Tim beside Jerry. We had added Christy to our family and she’s beside me in our picture. Then we added another son in 1972!

One favorite memory of mine is of Judy and me going Huckleberry picking! There were so many good places for us to pick. We’d pick buckets full for baking pies and for freezing. Huckleberries and Blueberries are almost the same, except that Huckleberries are wild and smaller and more tasty! So much more tasty! They grow on bushes in the woods. With all the new subdivisions being developed here many of our favorite places to pick are gone! One day we were riding in the country together, Bob and Judy and Jerry and me. Country in Michigan means lots of wooded areas. All of a sudden Judy said, “Stop, Bob, there must be huckleberries in this woods!” He stopped and Judy and I got out. She had buckets in the trunk! We went into the woods and sure enough, there were huckleberries! We happily picked our buckets full!

Judy was very creative and loved decorating. She kept their home and yard very attractive. She also decorated our church up until just a few years ago. For a while we were both into Macrame. One year she came up with a clever idea for our church Christmas decorating. We each made matching white hanging tables! They were hung on each side of the sanctuary platform with evergreen boughs and large red candles inside clear glass chimneys as a beautiful center piece on each one! It was very festive and attractive! Macramae tables Mine is on the right side in the picture. For many years Judy kept our church decorated so lovely with her creative ideas!

Judy was attractive and very slender. I was okay in our younger years. I wish I had pictures of us but we just weren’t into taking pictures, like we are now days!              Here’s a recent picture of Judy and Bob. FullSizeRender (86)

Judy Funeral flowers These beautiful flowers were at her funeral. I’m posting them here because they were so Judy! They were created at the business where she worked. They knew exactly what to make and how to make them to represent Judy!

There is so much more I could write but I must stop. Judy was my good friend. The best thing about her was her faith in God. She was a committed Christian. Today she is in heaven, no doubt about it!

A Drink of Water

 

I answered a knock on our door. A stranger stood there, a young woman, dressed as a person trying to find her way in life, looking tired, disheveled, and frustrated. “Hi,” I said with a question mark. She had dyed her hair a couple of different shades of red or pink or both. It was tied in  sort of a ponytail but it really wasn’t long enough! I don’t know how to describe her pants. They were black, tight, mainly with holes! Her black shirt was long and rather tight.

She began talking fast. “My phone is dead. I’m trying to find my boyfriend’s house. Can I charge my phone?”

Before I even answered I thought of the electrical outlet on our porch! “Sure you can, we have an outlet right over here.” I quickly moved the old antique buggy parked, covering the outlet. “Plug it in right here.”

She explained her boyfriend lived on this same road but she didn’t know where. She needed his house number. “What’s your house number?” She was very nervous. “Could I have a drink of water?” she blurted out.

“Sure,” I answered. “Do you want ice in it?” She nodded. I went in to get her a paper cup of ice water. But when I got to the kitchen I reached for a glass and filled it with ice cubes and water. A Drink of Water close up

She gladly accepted it. I suggested she sit on our swing. She seemed to relax a little bit. I didn’t see a car so I asked how she got here. “On my bike!” she replied.  Sure enough, there sat a bike in our driveway.

I asked if she’d like to call her boyfriend on my phone. She finally reached him and he gave her his house number. It was about a half mile east of our house. As she walked to her bike she thanked me for helping her out and then said, “My boyfriend is the father of the  unborn baby I’m carrying!”

I watched as she rode her bike down our long driveway to the road. I had so many questions. How far had she ridden her bike? How far along was her pregnancy? Did she ride out here from town, a distance of about five miles? Or did she also live in the country? How did she pick our house to ask for help? Did her boyfriend already know about the baby or was she meeting him to tell him?

Jerry and I had a lot to think about and talk about that evening. We had so many unanswered questions. We were so glad I was able to help her out in even just a small way.

Then we began to get some negative thoughts. What if we were being staked out for them to return during the night? No. This couldn’t be. She was too sweet! She just needed help. I don’t even know her name! I don’t know her boy friend’s name, even though he’s a neighbor of ours!

She is a person created by God. She was mysteriously brought to our door. She and her boyfriend and the tiny baby are being added to my prayer list. God knows their names! God loves them!

 

 

Growing Up…White

In 1944 to 1946, I began my education in Des Moines, Iowa  at Nash Elementary and Kirkwood Elementary. The schools I attended were racially mixed. Race meant nothing to me. I played with anyone who would play with me.

I was raised in Iowa, except for three years, 1946 to 1949, when we lived in Oklahoma and Illinois. It’s interesting how impressions are made on children. Because I’m writing about the 1940’s and ’50’s I’ll use the word, Negro, rather than Black.

When we moved to Oklahoma, we lived in a town that was all white. I remember seeing a negro man walking along the railroad tracks one day. The thought that came to my mind was, he’d better keep walking because negro people can’t be in this town! If he wants to sleep overnight, he’ll have to sleep in the jail!  What a thought for a little child. What a thought to remain in my mind after all these years! Anita 1947

We moved back to Des Moines and for 8th and 9th grades I attended Washington Irving Jr. High. I have many memories of my two years there. There were many, many negro students. I don’t remember any negro teachers.

I wasn’t very athletic so gym days were tough for me. I couldn’t serve a volleyball and get it over the net… My hands stung every time I tried to hit the ball back over the net. One day a girl, who was getting very aggravated with me, yelled, “Niger”, at me! I couldn’t believe it…she was a negro! Later we became good friends.

A negro boy in my homeroom was named Matthew. I’d never heard of anyone named Matthew. I thought it was interesting his mother named him a Bible name! Today it’s a common name…I have a fine grandson named Matthew!

I had a very long way to walk to and from school. One day as I was walking alone, one of my classmates, who was also walking alone, caught up with me. We started talking as we walked. We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot.

We were walking down a very busy street. All of a sudden, a car veered and nearly lost control. We jumped quickly, staring at the car. The driver caught my eye. He was staring, in disbelief, at me! Oh my goodness, we’d nearly caused an accident! Yes, my friend was a negro boy! So what! We were friends…simply that, friends. And good friends, at that! We continued walking together until we came to where he had to turn the corner but our mood had changed. We said good-bye. We were still friends but we never walked together again. I felt bad then and I still do today.

These are just a couple of memories I have of growing up white in a country of both whites and blacks. I have lots more, but these stand out in my mind.

Years later, I understood why I had such a feeling of comradeship with my black friends. My parents, though never saying so, had the feeling of equality with black people and had always encouraged me in this way. But it was more than that. My dad became Director of Interracial Evangelism, in the 1960’s, in our denomination, Free Methodist Church of North America. I was so proud of him then and still am. What a legacy my parents gave me.

 

 

 

I Do Love A Taco

I made tacos for Jerry and me last evening for supper. We do love tacos! Tacos  I forgot to take a picture of an actual taco before we ate them! Sorry! This lazy Susan with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and meat mixture in the center is just right since there are only two of us now.

I’ll never forget the first time my family had tacos for supper. We were in Portland, Oregon, visiting my sister, Lorraine, and her beautiful family. There were six in each of our families. This would have been in the late 60’s. Bob, brother-in-law, suggested we have tacos for supper. My family hardly knew what a taco was! It sounded Mexican. But we were game! As I recall everyone, old enough, helped out. Grating the cheese was the biggest job… We warmed the shells for just a couple of minutes, then filled them with seasoned ground beef, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. Oh boy, were they good!

Tacos became a favorite of my family. Everyone pitched in to help with preparation, especially grating the cheese! We never ended up with the right amount of cheese, somehow it got eaten as it was being grated!

One year at our family camp, Pam, our oldest daughter, had her first boyfriend, Lyle. She asked if he could come for supper, one day. Sure, he was a very nice young man. Lyle and Pam were both young teenagers, and what a coincidence, my very first boyfriend was also named Lyle! We decided to have a family favorite, tacos! I worked hard making sure everything was just right. I grated the cheese myself and made sure we had a large bowl of it. We ate outside under our camper awning. I stepped inside the camper to get something and when I came out, I was shocked! The cheese was on the ground! I was mad…okay, I was upset. I said, “WHO SPILLED THE CHEESE?” No one said a word, they just looked at me, like they wished I would keep still! Then Lyle spoke up and said he was so sorry, the bowl just slipped out of his hands! Oh, I felt so bad and so embarrassed. We salvaged as much as we could. I apologized for getting upset. It could have happened to anyone. As I recall we ended up with just enough for everyone to put some in their tacos. Years later, I saw Lyle at family camp again. This time, he was there with his wife and two young children! We talked and laughed about that fateful day, so many years ago!

Years later, Jerry and I went to Mexico, two years in a row. We worked at Rancho Betania, a Free Methodist camp, near Santa Ana, Sonora, Mexico. We were there about two weeks both years. We had a great time. One highlight was going to town for Tacos! We’d been advised to be careful what we bought to eat whenever we went to town. But this little restaurant we were told was an ‘okay’ place to eat! We all went as a group. The owners knew we were coming. Oh my! I’ve never eaten such delicious tacos in my life! What a wonderful memory!

Once in a while we go to a Mexican restaurant here but the tacos we prefer are the ones we have at home, made by me! By the way, I now buy grated cheese, no more grating cheese by hand and eating half of it! What wonderful memories of a simple, but delicious meal!

 

 

 

 

My Friend Barb

I’m thinking about some of my memories with Barb!  Hockaday_Barbara_20151108   I’ve known her since the year before I married Jerry. That would be 1958!

Barb and Dick attended our wedding in Winona Lake, Indiana. In fact, they were among the ‘friends’ who stole my suitcase and tied all my clothes in knots before returning it to our car so Jerry and I could leave on our honeymoon! Dad and me wedding  This picture is proof Barb was at my wedding! No, she’s not in the picture! This is my dad walking me down the aisle, and Barb’s husband, Dick, is in the picture! He’s the man closest to my dad! Barb is next to Dick, and can’t be seen! But she was there!

Dick and Jerry were both in the National Guard and had to go to National Guard Camp every summer. Barb invited me to stay with her since we’d both be alone.

Well, Barb and HoneyBee were alone! HoneyBee was her big, loveable, mixed Boxer dog! She was securely tied in the back yard. Our first night alone, after we were asleep, HoneyBee woke us up with her barking! She didn’t stop! She barked and barked. Barb and I laid in bed trying to convince each other not to worry. It was probably just an animal, maybe a raccoon. But, the longer she barked and the longer we talked, the more worried we became! What if some man heard that two young brides were sleeping in this house, with no husbands…! What if HoneyBee was trying to warn us? What if the man was trying to break in!? Oh, what should we do? We couldn’t just stay there! But how could we get to the car without him grabbing us? Then one of us, I’m not sure which one, got an idea… Let’s call Jim. Jim was our brother-in-law and lived less than two miles away.

(Let me explain the relationship here. Jim was Jerry’s brother. Marion, Jim’s wife, was Dick’s sister. So Jim was the brother-in-law of both Barb and me, but yet, Barb and I weren’t related.)

Then Barb and I had another problem! How could we look up Jim’s phone number without turning the light on? We didn’t want the ‘man’ to know we were up! We called information, in the dark, and asked for Jim’s number, which we wrote down in the dark. Then we dialed, in the dark, and waited and waited, for Jim to wake up and answer the phone. He finally did and I explained to him what our problem was and how scared we were. His reply? “So?” I swallowed hard and asked if he would come and get us and let us sleep at his house! There was a pause…and then he said, “Okay.”

The next night we decided to keep HoneyBee in the house. Ohhhh, every now and then, all night long, I had to push HoneyBee away and wipe her slobbers off my face!

The third night we kept HoneyBee in the house again, but we closed the bedroom door. In the morning, we were hurrying around, getting ready for the day. Barb had to go to work. I just needed to be dropped off at my house. But Barb couldn’t find her keys! We both searched all over the house. No keys. Did HoneyBee hide them? We searched some more. No keys. Finally, Barb said maybe she left them in her car and went out to look. No keys. She searched the ground, in case she had dropped them. No keys. She came back to the house, grabbed the doorknob… Her KEYS! In the lock were her keys on the outside!!! They were just waiting for some man to come in, in the night!

For a weekend, Barb and I drove up to Grayling, Michigan to the National Guard Camp, to be with our husbands for a couple of days. We rented a cottage on a lake to share and had a great time. We watched them march in a parade and go through ceremonial maneuvers.

The next year, when the guys went to National Guard Camp, Barb stayed with me in our new house. I had my new baby, Pamela Gail! Barb loved her! We rented a cottage on a lake again for a weekend and Jerry and Dick joined us again. But this time, I had all kinds of baby paraphernalia!

Years went by, we continued our friendship. We had more babies, five total. Barb and Dick were blessed with two babies, Terri and Brent.

As the years passed, with the business of life, I lost contact with Barb. I’m glad I have these fun memories of her.  Now she’s gone. Today I attended her memorial service. I know she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so someday I’ll see her again.

God Encounter

A few nights ago, sitting in my lazy-boy chair, in the loft, my phone made a sound telling me someone had texted me. I checked it, of course, but the message was one I almost deleted. It asked a question, ‘why did your phone number show up on my phone? Who are you and what do you want?’  My name is ___________ and I live in _______, Oklahoma.

The name caught my attention. When I was a little girl, I knew an even younger girl named ______________! My family lived in _________, Oklahoma.  She had a brother a year younger than I was. I wrote back telling her this. I asked if she had a brother named _________.

She wrote back, ‘Yes, she had a brother named _______! They lived in the same town as  my family!

So I wrote back, ‘Your dad was my pastor! How did you say you got my number?’

My number had simply appeared on her phone! We decided to keep in touch!

The next night she wrote again, asking for prayer for her brother! He had injured himself and was in severe pain! His wife is taking care of him, but they needed a touch from God.

How and why did this happen? Only God knows. I’m praying for my childhood friend, _______, that God will touch him and heal his injury. I’m praying for my new texting friend, ___________.

This was a God Encounter!

I’m Ready, Are You?

Another funeral today… the sister of my very close friend. I barely knew the person who died so suddenly, but yet I considered her a friend. We saw each other mainly at family functions: weddings, anniversaries, and funerals. Today was her funeral, her death was so unexpected. She was 78 years old, about a year and a half older than I am.

So another funeral today. There have been so many…! Lorraine, Joan, Lynne, Dean, Norma, Oates, Twila, Jim, another Jim, Jack, Bob, Margaret, Carolee, David, Evelyn, and there are more. These are just the names that came to my mind just now as I’m writing.

These are also close to my age! I didn’t name the folks who’ve died in their old age, upper 80’s and 90’s! Yes, I’m in my middle seventies. But, I don’t feel old! I know I must look old! I get offers of help at the supermarket! When I was in Haiti in June of this year, the wonderful Haitian folks wouldn’t allow me to do anything! They would hold up their hands and say, “Oh, no, Grandma. No, no!” They would then do the task I was needing to do! I do admit to having aches and pains that are new to me, but I’m not ready to die!

Well, physically, I’m not ready to die. Spiritually, I am ready to die! I’m forgiven, I’m born again, I’m living in praise of my personal Saviour! What a wonderful place to be! When my day comes for me to breathe my last breath, I don’t want anyone to wonder if I’m  ready! New haircut  Praise God, I’m ready! Are you?